At the VMA Awards last night, rapper Kanye West announced his intentions to run for President in a 20 minute rambling speech, which went like this:

[… 2 minutes silence …]
Listen to the kids, bruh!
I think about when I’m in the grocery store with my daughter, and I have a really great conversation about fresh juice at the… you know.
And at the end they say, “Oh you’re not that bad after all.”
And when I go to a baseball game and 60 thousand people boo me, it crosses my mind a little bit.
And I think if I had to do it all again — what would I have done?
Would I have worn a leather shirt? Would I have drank a half a bottle of Hennessy and given the rest to the crowd? Y’all know, you drank that bottle, too.
The problem was the contradiction. I do fight for artists but in that fight, somehow, was disrespectful to artists. You know all this shit they run about beef and all that, sometimes I feel like I died for the artist’s opinion, for the artist to have an opinion after they got successful.
I’m not no politician, bruh. Listen to the kids, bruh.
I still don’t understand awards shows.
I don’t understand how they get five people … to come stand on a carpet, and have the opportunity to be considered a loser? I don’t understand it, bruh.
I’ve been conflicted, bruh. I just wanted people to like me more. But f*ck that, bruh, 2015. I will die for the art for what I believe in.
Y’all might be thinking right now, “I wonder did he smoke something before he came out here?”
And the answer is yes, I rolled up a little something to knock the edge off. I don’t know what’s gonna happen tonight, what’s gonna happen tomorrow, bruh.
I’m confident I believe in myself. We the millennials, bruh. This is a new mentality. We’re not gonna control our kids with brands.
I don’t know what I’m gonna lose after this it don’t matter though, because it’s not about me.
It’s about ideas, bruh. New ideas. People with ideas. People who believe in truth.
And yes, as you probably could’ve guessed in this moment, I’ve decided in 2020 to run for president!
[ Kanye walks off stage to applause ]


Please download and share my #ANYONEBUTKANYE poster on social media.
#kanye2020 #kanyeforpres #anyonebutkanye #kanyewest

Jehovah’s 2.5 mile wide comet!

2.5 mile wide asteroid

Internet Muppets: A story about a 2.5 mile wide comet on a collision course with Earth has gone viral.

The story, circulating on blogs and social media, is that next month between 15 – 28th September, the “Armageddon” asteroid will hit Puerto Rico, destroying much of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, creating a 200-foot tsunami which will devastate America.

And from where does this alarming prediction originate, you may well ask? Is it from NASA’s Near-Earth Object office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, where they are able to track Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) for the next 100 years?

No, even better than that! It comes from an internet evangelist Rev. Efrain Rodriguez, who claims that “Jehovah God of the Universe Himself showed me a huge rock entering through the sky in the municipality of Arecibo in Puerto Rico”, and that “this impact will produce a large wave, which will enter into areas where Satanists sacrifice newborn babies.

He goes on to say that the earth will stop rotating for 3 days, and there will be one year of famine and drought, and that this is Jehovah’s retribution on us for prostituting ourselves, and for adultery, homosexualality and practicing witchcraft…

So I think it’s safe to come out of the bunkers now.

GoPro HERO 3 Resolutions, FPS and FOV explained simply!

Go Pro Hero 3 resolutions explained

I was asked by my young cousin to help explain some of the settings on his GoPro camera, and it occurred to me that these instructional guides are always very technical, and are never written with the younger audience in mind. So I decided to write a really simple guide to the GoPro resolutions (RES), frames per second (FPS), and field of view (FOV), that hopefully a child would understand.

[to be continued…]

Good luck in Jordan, Aston!

Good luck in Jordan

My good friend and colleague Aston was redeployed to Amman, Jordan in the Middle East after more than 15 years working at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva with me, and shipped out this weekend. When I got into work this morning I found this waiting for me on my desk.

Aston redeployed to Amman

It’s a project we worked on 12 years ago…

Good luck Aston! I hope all goes well for you in Jordan, and that you find your way back to Geneva.

Slow motion play with cats

Slow motion cat play
Last night I stayed up to 3am editing some slow motion footage I had shot with my cats back in January 2014 when I first got an iPhone 5S, (the first iPhone capable of recording 120 frames per second slow motion video). The footage had just been sitting on my phone ever since, so I decided to use my new-found Final Cut Pro skills to edit it down into a short movie.

I learned a couple of new video editing tricks, like how to layer-up “portrait mode” footage, (vertical shot footage on a mobile phone), to fill the “landscape mode” frame, and how to fade to black at the end. It was also my first video with an audio track, (although I made the newbie error of adding the music afterwards, so I had to try to sync the music with the scene changes, rather than the scene changes with the music)!

As only my second time playing with Final Cut Pro I was really pleased with the outcome, although I kind of regretted the decision when the alarm went off at 8am this morning!

Slow motion play with cats – by Neil Hillman

[music by Johnny Rock – https://soundcloud.com/johnnyrockmusic]

Conspiracy theorists are colossal nobs

Apollo11 moon landing
Haha, British professor of particle physics Brian Cox, television science presenter for programs like “Wonders of the Universe”, and recipient of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE), has a special message for moon landing conspiracy theorists on the 46th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission:

… don’t mince your words, Brian! (For our American visitors, “nob” is a common British term for “penis”).

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin responded saying “@ProfBrianCox is a pretty smart guy”, and posted this photo with amusing tweet:

Let’s not forget how Buzz reacted when conspiracy theorist and filmmaker Bart Sibrel called him a “coward” and a “liar” back in 2002.

Beme – The new social media app

Beme - Casey Neistrat's social media app
The latest buzz on the social media scene is about Beme, the new video sharing app by well-known NYC vlogger and filmmaker Casey Neistat. The app aims to promote honesty by removing the self-consciousness from “selfies”. Beme uses your phones proximity sensors to trigger recording. The idea being that instead of looking at your phone while recording, you hold it up against your chest and allow your viewers to “Be Me”. You share your experiences without effectively missing them yourself because of staring at your phone.

Beme sharing technique

The Beme app, as it stands, is a no-frills affair. On triggering your phone’s proximity sensor, you hear a beep, the screen goes black and recording starts. Four seconds later a second beep, recording ends and your clip is uploaded.

Whereas other social media apps encourage you to present a highly sculpted image of yourself, (choosing the best crop, adding filters and effects before posting), Beme removes all scrutiny and self-censorship by instantly posting. There is no preview option, no undo, no delete – just instant, unedited sharing. Your recent Bemes are collated together into mini-stories for your followers to watch, and once they are viewed, they are gone forever.

Viewers can react to your Bemes by tapping the screen and sending you a “reaction” selfie.

Beme reaction sharing

The Beme app is already in the iPhone app store, [http://apple.co/1OjdMFR], (with an Android version to follow shortly), but there is currently a waiting list to activate. Users can reserve their username already, but must wait for an unlock code to gain access, and so far only about 10,000 unlock codes have been handed out worldwide.

Beme unlock codes


Once unlocked the app is a bit basic, although I am confident that what we are seeing now is little more than a “proof of concept”, with many more features yet to come. Here are some of the issues I highlighted, (and how I would go about fixing them):

1). Proximity sensor recording is always on

Once you open the app, recording is triggered by the proximity sensor. There is no way to disable this, making unintentional recording commonplace. (My phone has a flip cover case, so every time I close the cover without first quitting Beme it starts recording). I handed the phone to my wife, and before she could figure out how Beme worked, she had already shot a 4 second video of her lap and uploaded it. There needs to be an on/off switch for toggling the proximity sensor recording.

2). Hold to watch clips, tap to react mechanism

Currently, you have to hold your finger down for a clip to play. If you break contact at any point, the clip stops playing and is gone for ever. You also have a “tap to send reaction selfie” mechanism, but you can’t use the same finger to tap, as breaking contact will close the clip. So while holding the phone, you need to use a second finger to “react” to clips, without moving your first finger from the screen. Apart from being all but impossible to do one-handed, this means that you spend most of the time watching clips with both of your hands in front of the screen. They need to either remove the “hold to watch” requirement, or factor in a 1 second delay when releasing so that you can tap with the same finger you are holding with, without the clip closing.

3). No Individuality / Personalization

There are currently no avatars or profile pictures, and no numbers. You can’t tell if someone has 2,000 followers or 2, if they Beme regularly or have never Beme’d before. Everyone appears as a grey username with “Interesting stranger” or “Nearby stranger” after their name, but there is no individuality, and indication who to follow. At the very least, they need to allow users to select one of their own “reaction selfies”, taken with the app, and use it as their profile picture.

Beme Rumours

High expectations versus the bare-bones simplicity of the app has sparked many rumours as to what else is to come. Developers have dug through the source code and found references to functions called “GoProManager” and “ImageMotionDetect”, as well as many filters such as image sharpeners, image saturation, sepia, polka dot, pixellate, mosaic and Gaussian blur, to name but a few.

But perhaps one of the more interesting speculations is that Beme is merely the software component for some new “Google Glass”-style wearable hardware being developed. Beme founder Casey Neistrat became very interested in Google Glass about 9 months ago, and posted a video on YouTube saying that he loved the idea of having a wearable camera on you at all times, but that the 45 min battery life of Google Glass was a big disadvantage, and that it was impossible to look “cool” while wearing them. It was also around this time that he stopped producing his small movies in favour of daily vlogs, (which many see as a promotional vehicle for Beme), and started work on his “new company”. Two weeks later in his vlog we catch a glimpse of a table full of white mannequin heads at Beme HQ, sporting an array of glasses and headgear, (presumably either early prototypes, or market competetors’ products for analysis).

Casey Neistat's glasses - neilhillman.com

Is this all just coincidence? vlogging glasses, anyone?

And finally, we have Beme codes!

Today is your lucky day, because I have another four Beme unlock codes to give away! The last 5 all went in minutes, so this time to make it more exciting, I will give them to whoever leaves the best, funniest, or most creative comments below about why they want one! Also, let me know your Twitter handle, (so I can DM you the unlock code). The first five, four people to leave me a really good comment get one!

PS. To anyone who thinks I’m bluffing, I have already given away 5x Beme unlock codes to:






Final Cut Pro and Die Antwoord

Die Antwoord and Final Cut Pro
So today I taught myself video editing using Final Cut Pro, inspired by Casey Neistat, (a nyc vlogger and entrepreneur who I have become quite a fanboy of lately). Then I took all my mobile phone footage of a recent Die Antwoord concert and edited it together to make this short movie. Oh, and it’s only 10am.

[Die Antwoord at Montreux Jazz 2015 permalink]

Sorry that the audio is so crappy! I have got to find a way to stop the high volumes from distorting my iPhone mic at concerts, (either a software solution to reduce gain, or an external mic hardware solution). Let me know if you have figured out a way already…

Florida photographer for marriage equality

Florida photographer for marriage equality
A Florida wedding photographer had a client cancel, after he joined millions of others on Facebook in adding a rainbow filter, showing his support for marriage equality. The client wrote: “… we will NOT be using your services. My fiance and I support traditional marriage and don’t want our money going to places that supports otherwise. Secondly I would like to inquire about how we can get our retainer back from you.”

Photographer Clinton Brentwood Lee, 33, replied, “I actually find this to be a good thing because our company now would not like to work with you as well. It’s not because you have a different view from us, it’s because since you don’t like and support gay marriage, no one else should be able to have it. … Personally, I was taught not to judge others and to love everyone else. I hope you’ll read the first article in the contract you signed stating that the retainer is non-refundable. But don’t worry, I’m not going to keep it! Because of this conversation, I have decided to donate your $1,500 to GLADD, a group created to help and support gay rights. So let me be the first to say … thank you very much for your donation and support for this great cause!”

Check out BrentwoodPhotography.com.

Local street art by Invader

Local street art by Invader
I just spotted this cool Simpsons mosaic street art on Servette, Geneva. I recognized the style, and was pretty sure this was by the famous French street artist known as “Invader“, (who’s pieces have sold for up to $250,000 at Sotheby). A bit of research confirmed that he has visited Geneva twice, and created 33 “invasions”, or mosaic installations, so this is definitely one of his! Space-Invaders.com

Protect us from Picasso’s filthy art!

Apparently the $179 million price tag was not the most obscene thing about the record-breaking sale of a Picasso painting at a Christie’s auction this week. When Fox News reported the story, they saw fit to censor the cubists’ breasts too, in case any non-art-loving puritans were watching!

Meet ALADDIN, it predicts the future…

ALADDIN Collective Intelligence

This is the ALADDIN “Collective Intelligence” network, an incredibly powerful computer network based out in a tiny town called East Wenatche in the middle of nowhere in Washington State.

It guides the investment of over 11 TRILLIAN DOLLARS worth of assets around the world for a company called BLACKROCK, that is the world’s biggest investor. It watches over 7% of ALL THE INVESTMENTS IN THE WORLD.

Row upon row of servers, surrounded by back-up batteries, monitor everything that happens in the world, not just financial, and compare it with the past to predict patterns and avoid possible outcomes.

Its aim is to not change the world, but to keep it stable. Maintain the status quo, and preventing risks. This is shaping our world, and it is even more powerful in some respects than traditional politics.

Source article: Adam Curtis on the rise of the digital tracker